KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Global Coronavirus Cases Top 100K; U.N. Agencies, Governments Worldwide Step Up Responses

AP: As virus outbreaks multiply, U.N. declines to declare pandemic
“As cases of the coronavirus surge in Italy, Iran, South Korea, the U.S., and elsewhere, many scientists say it’s plain that the world is in the grips of a pandemic — a serious global outbreak. The World Health Organization has so far resisted describing the crisis as such, saying the word ‘pandemic’ might spook the world further and lead some countries to lose hope of containing the virus…” (Cheng, 3/7).

Devex: PAHO to deploy extra COVID-19 support to weaker regional health systems
“The Pan-American Health Organization will deploy teams this week to countries in Latin America and the Caribbean that require extra support on their response to the outbreak of COVID-19, the novel coronavirus. PAHO said on Friday it will assess the current status of country responses so far, review national response plans and surveillance systems, and help countries identify how and where they will isolate and quarantine identified cases of the disease…” (Welsh, 3/9).

New York Times: As Death Toll Mounts, Governments Point Fingers Over Coronavirus
“An Iranian official claimed without evidence that the epidemic could be an American bioweapon, after some U.S. officials said the same about China. Saudi Arabia said its cases were Iran’s fault. South Korea lashed out at Japan over travel restrictions and responded in kind. At a time of global crisis, when the new coronavirus has infected more than 100,000 people, killed more than 3,400, and all but shut down whole industries, the world’s scientists and public health officials are working together across ideological and national borders to try to stop the epidemic. But as the virus continues its rapid spread, political leaders in many countries seem to have seized on a different question: Who can be blamed?…” (Wang et al., 3/7).

U.N. News: COVID-19: ‘Sombre moment’ as cases top 100,000 worldwide
“The global number of confirmed cases of the new coronavirus disease, COVID-19, has surpassed 100,000, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported on Saturday. ‘As we mark this sombre moment, the World Health Organization reminds all countries and communities that the spread of this virus can be significantly slowed or even reversed through the implementation of robust containment and control activities,’ the U.N. agency said in a statement…” (3/7).

Wall Street Journal: Global Viral Outbreaks Like Coronavirus, Once Rare, Will Become More Common
“The rapid and global spread of the deadly new coronavirus caught households, business leaders, investors, and policy makers off guard, but health experts and economists who study pandemics say it shouldn’t have come as a surprise at all. … The public needs to prepare for more of them, they add…” (Hilsenrath/Xiao, 3/6).

Washington Post: Governments step up coronavirus response as U.S. cases top 500
“Governments intensified their efforts Sunday to combat the global spread of the novel coronavirus, as Saudi Arabia followed Italy in enacting new travel restrictions, Iran suspended flights to Europe, and the United States, where the number of cases topped 500, warned citizens against cruise travel. Uncertainty continued to permeate the response effort, however, amid muddled directives from the Trump administration and reports of some patients unable to access testing…” (Sonmez et al., 3/8).

Additional coverage of the COVID-19 outbreak’s global impacts is available from AP (2) (3), The Atlantic (2) (3), The Hill, New York Times, Reuters (2), Science, TIME, U.N. News (2), Vox, and Washington Post (2).

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Some COVID-19 Infections Can Progress To Critical Quickly; Scientists Work To Develop Diagnostics, Vaccines

Bloomberg: There Is a ‘Tipping Point’ Before Coronavirus Kills (Gale, 3/8).

Devex: U.K. government to fund coronavirus rapid diagnostic test (Worley, 3/6).

New York Times: How Deadly Is Coronavirus? What We Know and What We Don’t (Bui et al., 3/7).

Reuters: $2 billion needed to develop COVID-19 shot, says epidemic response group (Kelland, 3/6).

STAT: To develop a coronavirus vaccine, synthetic biologists try to outdo nature (Begley, 3/9).

USA TODAY: Children aren’t at great risk for coronavirus, WHO report says, but some doctors aren’t so sure (Rodriguez, 3/6).

VOA: China: Coronavirus Vaccine Could Be Ready for ‘Emergency Use’ in April (Xie, 3/7).

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News Outlets Examine Trump Administration's International, Domestic Responses To COVID-19 Outbreak; NPR Reviews $8.3B Emergency Spending Plan

The Hill: U.S. walks tightrope as coronavirus hits adversaries
“The spread of coronavirus around the globe is raising questions about how the United States should help its adversaries mitigate the disease. … Both Iran and North Korea are under harsh U.S. sanctions, even as the international community worries about how their fragile medical systems can handle the disease…” (Kheel, 3/8).

New York Times: Inside Trump Administration, Debate Raged Over What to Tell Public
“…From the beginning, the Trump administration’s attempts to forestall an outbreak of a virus now spreading rapidly across the globe was marked by a raging internal debate about how far to go in telling Americans the truth. Even as the government’s scientists and leading health experts raised the alarm early and pushed for aggressive action, they faced resistance and doubt at the White House — especially from the president — about spooking financial markets and inciting panic…” (Shear et al., 3/8).

NPR: Where That $8.3 Billion In U.S. Coronavirus Funding Will And Won’t Go
“The coronavirus funding bill signed into law by the president Friday puts much more money toward treating and preventing the spread of COVID-19 than his administration requested from Congress last week. The Trump administration’s initial request — in the form of a two-page letter to Congress on Feb. 24 — was for … a total of $2.5 billion. The amount authorized Friday is more than three times that. ‘It’s a significant amount of money,’ says Jen Kates of the Kaiser Family Foundation…” (Simmons-Duffin, 3/6).

POLITICO: Trump’s mismanagement helped fuel coronavirus crisis
“…For six weeks behind the scenes, and now increasingly in public, Trump has undermined his administration’s own efforts to fight the coronavirus outbreak — resisting attempts to plan for worst-case scenarios, overturning a public-health plan upon request from political allies and repeating only the warnings that he chose to hear. Members of Congress have grilled top officials like Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Centers for Disease Control Director Robert Redfield over the government’s biggest mistake: failing to secure enough testing to head off a coronavirus outbreak in the United States. But many current and former Trump administration officials say the true management failure was Trump’s…” (Diamond, 3/7).

Washington Post: Squandered time: How the Trump administration lost control of the coronavirus crisis
“…This portrait of the precious weeks that President Trump and his administration frittered away in trying to deal with the coronavirus is the result of interviews with 16 current and former administration officials, state health officials, and outside experts, many of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity to share candid assessments…” (Parker, 3/7).

Additional coverage of the U.S. response to COVID-19, both domestically and abroad, is available from Bloomberg, The Hill, Mother Jones, New York Times (2), POLITICO, Washington Post (2) (3), and Washington Times.

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Foreign Policy Examines Trump Administration's Cuts To USAID's Presence In Iraq

Foreign Policy: Fears Mount as Trump Administration Guts USAID’s Iraq Presence
“The United States’ top aid agency is dismantling its presence in Iraq, leaving a skeleton crew ill-equipped to oversee over $1 billion in aid programs aimed in part at staving off the return of terrorist organizations such as the Islamic State, officials and lawmakers say. … Congressional aides familiar with the matter say USAID has considered closing down awards for funding in Iraq early because there’s not enough staff to oversee the programs. A USAID spokesperson disputed this, telling Foreign Policy the agency has ‘not not considered ending any awards early because of our reduced footprint’…” (Gramer, 3/6).

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Women Call For Justice, Equality In International Women's Day Protests Worldwide; 70% Of Global Health Leaders Men, Report Shows

AP: Women fill streets of world’s cities with call for justice
“Women filled the streets of the world’s largest cities Sunday to protest gender violence and inequality on International Women’s Day, with the mothers of murdered girls leading a march in Mexico City and participants in Paris inveighing against the ‘virus of the patriarchy’…” (Guthrie, 3/9).

The Guardian: Seven out of 10 global health leaders are men — and change is half a century away
“A small group of privileged men based in Europe and the U.S. preside over a global health system which is 70% male, according to new research. The Global Health 50/50 report, published on Monday by University College London’s Institute of Global Health, warns it could take 54 years until the world’s major health organizations have equality in their leadership…” (Ahmed, 3/9).

U.N. News: No sustainable development or peace without women: U.N. deputy chief
“The world will not be able to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) if half the planet is left behind, the U.N. Deputy Secretary-General said in Papua New Guinea on Sunday: International Women’s Day. Amina J. Mohammed was speaking in the capital, Port Moresby, where she participated in the national launch of the Spotlight Initiative, a European Union-U.N. partnership to eliminate violence against women and girls by the SDG deadline of 2030…” (3/8).

Additional coverage of International Women’s Day is available from AP, CBS, IPS, The Telegraph, U.N. News, and VOA.

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New York Times Profiles Adam Castillejo, 'London Patient' Cured Of HIV Through Bone Marrow Transplant

New York Times: The ‘London Patient,’ Cured of HIV, Reveals His Identity
“A year after the ‘London Patient’ was introduced to the world as only the second person to be cured of HIV, he is stepping out of the shadows to reveal his identity: He is Adam Castillejo. … Last March, scientists announced that Mr. Castillejo, then identified only as the ‘London Patient,’ had been cured of HIV after receiving a bone-marrow transplant for his lymphoma. The donor carried a mutation that impeded the ability of HIV to enter cells, so the transplant essentially replaced Mr. Castillejo’s immune system with one resistant to the virus. The approach, though effective in his case, was intended to cure his cancer and is not a practical option for the widespread curing of HIV because of the risks involved…” (Mandavilli, 3/9).

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UNHCR, Partners Launch $621M Appeal For Refugee Support, Ebola Response In DRC

U.N. News: DR Congo: Agencies appeal for funding for refugee support and Ebola response
“Urgent resources are needed to support countries in southern Africa and the Great Lakes region which are hosting more than 900,000 refugees and asylum seekers from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the U.N. refugee agency, UNHCR, and partners said in a $621 million appeal launched on Friday. They described the situation in the DRC as one of the most complex and long-standing humanitarian crises on the continent. … WHO requires around $83 million to continue [Ebola] response efforts through June but due to funding carried over from last year, the agency is seeking $40 million…” (3/6).

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More News In Global Health

AP: AP Interview: U.N. official appeals for more access in Syria (Mroue/Laub, 3/6).

Becker’s Hospital Review: CDC panel recommends Ebola vaccine for U.S. adults at risk of exposure (Vaidya, 3/6).

BloombergQuint: Widespread Malaria May Complicate Coronavirus Fight in Africa (Soto, 3/6).

Devex: How scalable are maternity waiting homes? (Jerving, 3/9).

Health Policy Watch: E-Cigarette Use & Ads Aimed At Kids Threaten Tobacco Control Gains — On 15th Anniversary Of International Convention (Ren/Fletcher, 3/6).

New York Times: Surge of Virus Misinformation Stumps Facebook and Twitter (Frenkel et al., 3/9).

Reuters: U.N. cancels some meetings ahead of climate summit due to coronavirus (Volcovici/Green, 3/6).

STAT: At Harvard forum, three who know warn of ‘most daunting virus’ in half a century (Joseph, 3/7).

Washington Post: Coronavirus could halt the world’s emissions growth. Not that we should feel good about that (Mooney et al. 3/6).

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Editorials and Opinions

Editorial, Opinion Pieces Discuss Various Aspects Of COVID-19 Outbreak, Response

Washington Post: Amid all the pandemic fear, some impressive leaps in science
Editorial Board

“Impressive new developments in science are showing up amid all the fear, errors, and unknowns that have come with the coronavirus pandemic. Never before in history have disease sleuths found and shared so much information so quickly about a dangerous pathogen. Advanced genomics has allowed them to fingerprint the culprit, track it, diagnose it, and begin to plot countermeasures. A boom in open publication has allowed them to trade data at network speed. In the long run, these developments will make the world safer. … Now, scientists from around the world, including China, are readily sharing their findings on biomedical preprint servers, bioRxiv, and medRxiv, where the papers are not peer-reviewed but made available quickly. This has led to more collaboration across national boundaries than ever before, a necessity when fighting a disease that also leaps across national borders” (3/7).

The Atlantic: The U.S. Isn’t Ready for What’s About to Happen
Juliette Kayyem, author and former Department of Homeland Security official (3/8).

Bloomberg: SARS Lessons Inoculate Hong Kong Against Epidemic
Nisha Gopalan, Bloomberg opinion columnist (3/6).

CNBC: Op-Ed: The coronavirus outbreak is already changing the world
Frederick Kempe, author, journalist, and president and CEO of the Atlantic Council (3/7).

Foreign Affairs: Fight Pandemics Like Wildfires
Catherine Machalaba, policy adviser and research scientist, and William B. Karesh, executive vice president for health and policy, both at EcoHealth Alliance (3/6).

Globe and Mail: Quarantine is one of the oldest powers in the book. That doesn’t mean governments should use it to fight coronavirus
Graham Mooney, associate professor at Johns Hopkins University’s Institute of the History of Medicine and in the Department of Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (3/6).

The Guardian: How a global health crisis turns into a state-run surveillance opportunity
John Naughton, professor of the public understanding of technology at the Open University and author (3/7).

The Guardian: Why we need worst-case thinking to prevent pandemics
Toby Ord, research fellow at the Future of Humanity Institute, philosopher, and author (3/6).

The Hill: Coronavirus and the karmic interconnectedness of humans, animals
Gene Baur, president and co-founder of Farm Sanctuary (3/7).

The Hill: From Ebola to COVID-19 — the importance of trust in authorities and disease response
K. Riva Levinson, president and CEO of KRL International LLC (3/8).

The Hill: Tax cuts won’t stop the coronavirus, well-funded public health services will
Morris Pearl, chair of the Patriotic Millionaires (3/7).

New York Times: How Iran Completely and Utterly Botched Its Response to the Coronavirus
Kamiar Alaei and Arash Alaei, Iranian health-policy experts and co-presidents of the Institute for International Health and Education (3/6).

New York Times: You Can’t Gaslight a Virus
Charles Blow, opinion columnist at the New York Times and television commentator (3/8).

New York Times: The Coronavirus Is Coming for Trump’s Presidency
Ross Douthat, opinion columnist at the New York Times (3/7).

New York Times: Trump, His Eye on the Border, Overlooked the Coronavirus Threat
Jeremy Konyndyk, senior policy fellow at the Center for Global Development (3/7).

New York Times: Beware the Deadly Contagion Spread by Blowhards
Nicholas Kristof, opinion columnist at the New York Times (3/7).

New York Times: Being Called a Cult Is One Thing, Being Blamed for an Epidemic Is Quite Another
Raphael Rashid, journalist (3/9).

POLITICO: We Predicted a Coronavirus Pandemic. Here’s What Policymakers Could Have Seen Coming.
Samuel Brannen, director of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Risk and Foresight Group and senior fellow in the International Security Program at CSIS, and Kathleen Hicks, CSIS senior vice president, Henry A. Kissinger Chair, and director of the International Security Program at CSIS (3/7).

Project Syndicate: The Virus of Fear
Ian Buruma, author (3/6).

Project Syndicate: What COVID-19 Means for International Cooperation
Kemal Derviş, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, and Sebastián Strauss, senior research analyst and coordinator for Strategic Engagements at the Brookings Institution (3/6).

Project Syndicate: COVID-19 Trumps Nationalism
Kevin Rudd, president of the Asia Society Policy Institute (3/6).

Scientific American: The Trump Administration’s Misinformation Machine
Charles Seife, professor of journalism at New York University and author (3/8).

Wall Street Journal: A Chinese Mystery and Covid-19’s Economic Puzzle
Holman W. Jenkins, Jr., member of the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal (3/6).

Washington Post: Trump can’t handle a crisis he didn’t create
Max Boot, columnist at the Washington Post (3/7).

Washington Post: Testing for the coronavirus might have stopped it. Now it’s too late.
William Hanage, associate professor of epidemiology at the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (3/6).

Washington Post: Iran’s response to the coronavirus is just making everything worse
Jason Rezaian, global opinions writer at the Washington Post (3/7).

Washington Post: The coronavirus outbreak is making expertise great again
Ishaan Tharoor, writer at the Washington Post (3/9).

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Opinion Pieces Recognize International Women's Day

Devex: Opinion: Challenging international development to get out of its comfort zone on gender equality
Rachel Firth, founder of Women in Dev and managing director of Global Office Consulting, and Roopa Dhatt, executive director and co-founder of Women in Global Health, physician, implementing partner and steering committee member of the Women Leaders in Global Health Conference, and on the Advisory Council of Global Health 50-50 (3/5).

IPS: Sticky Floors, Glass Ceilings & Biased Barriers: the Architecture of Gender Inequality
Pedro Conceição, director of the UNDP Human Development Report Office (3/8).

Ms. Magazine: This International Women’s Day, It’s Time for A Real Investment in Women and Girls
Laurie Adams, chief executive officer of Women for Women International (WfWI) (3/6).

New York Times: Melinda Gates: How to Start the Conversation About Gender Equality
Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (3/7).

New York Times: What You Do to Your Women, You Do to Your Nation
Valerie M. Hudson, professor and author (3/6).

Stuff: Jacinda Ardern: On International Women’s Day help improve women’s access to equal opportunities
Jacinda Ardern, prime minister of New Zealand, Mette Frederiksen, prime minister of Denmark, and Abiy Ahmed, prime minister of Ethiopia (3/8).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Opinion: International Women’s Day is not a ‘Hallmark holiday’
Regan Ralph, chief executive and president of the Fund for Global Human Rights (3/7).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Global Health Community Publishes Blog Posts On Various Aspects Of COVID-19 Outbreak, Including Impact, Preparedness

Brookings Institution’s “Up Front”: What are the possible economic effects of COVID-19 on the world economy? Warwick McKibbin’s scenarios
Warwick J. McKibbin, nonresident senior fellow for economic studies and co-director of the Climate and Energy Economics Project at Brookings Institution (3/6).

Global Health Council: COVID-19: Yet Another Lesson — and Word of Caution — for Global Health
Loyce Pace, president and executive director of the Global Health Council (3/6).

LinkedIn: COVID-19 Threatens the Poor and Marginalized More than Anyone
Peter Sands, executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (3/5).

Overseas Development Institute: What the world’s response to coronavirus can teach us about tackling the climate emergency
Rebecca Nadin, director of ODI’s Risk and Resilience program (3/6).

Think Global Health: Anticipating Coronavirus in West Africa
Jason Socrates Bardi, deputy managing editor for global health in the David Rockefeller Studies Program at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), and Thomas J. Bollyky, director of the global health program and senior fellow for global health, economics, and development at CFR (3/3).

World Economic Forum: The economic, geopolitical and health consequences of COVID-19
John Scott, head of sustainability risk at Zurich Insurance Group (3/6).

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Global Health Community Recognizes International Women's Day With Blog Posts

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “The Optimist”: We don’t want to wait 99 years for gender equality (3/8).

BMJ Opinion: Twenty five years after the Beijing Declaration we need to reaffirm that women’s rights are human rights
Rajat Khosla, human rights adviser for the Human Reproduction Program at the WHO, and colleagues (3/8).

Council on Foreign Relations: International Women’s Day: Women and Political Power (3/6).

Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria: Women Leading the Fight for Better Health (3/6).

Innovations for Poverty Action: What We’re Reading For International Women’s Day
Lucia Sanchez, program director for small and medium enterprises at IPA, and colleagues (3/5).

Intrahealth International’s “VITAL”: 10 Women Who Are Shaping the Future of Global Health (3/6).

Médecins Sans Frontières: Honoring International Women’s Day 2020 (March 2020).

Oxfam’s “From Politics to Poverty”: Things to read or listen to on International Women’s Day (3/8).

UNDP: Addressing the vulnerabilities that lead to HIV in young women
Georges van Montfoort, resident representative at UNDP Zimbabwe, and Tracey Burton, manager for the Global Fund Partnership/Health Implementation Support Team at UNDP (3/6).

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From the U.S. Government

U.S. Secretary Of State Issues Statement Observing International Women's Day

U.S. Department of State: Observance of International Women’s Day
In this statement recognizing International Women’s Day, U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo says, “The United States reaffirms our support for those women leading in boardrooms and the halls of government, for those changing lives in classrooms and laboratories, for those contributing to families and communities, and for those discovering solutions to prevent disease and end poverty. … International Women’s Day serves as a reminder to rededicate ourselves to gender equality and to remember those who came before us and had the vision to stand up for the rights of half the population to better the whole” (3/8).

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PMI Helps Community Health Workers In Côte d’Ivoire Prevent Malaria Among Pregnant Women

USAID/Medium: Protecting Pregnant Women from Malaria
Anne Bulchis, communications manager, and Kathryn Malhotra and Jacques N’dri Kouakou, technical advisers, all with the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative’s flagship global service delivery project, PMI Impact Malaria, discuss how PMI helps train community health workers in Côte d’Ivoire. In turn, these health workers educate pregnant women about the risks of malaria and provide intermittent preventive treatment to reduce the risk of infection. The authors write, “Last year, PMI distributed enough pills to protect 9 million pregnant women — made possible by the generosity of the American people. With continued support, clear guidelines in countries, strong training and mentoring of health providers, and the anti-malaria pills available at health facilities, more pregnant women … will be reached each year with this life saving intervention” (3/6).

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From KFF

KFF Regularly Updating COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker

KFF: COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker — Updated as of March 8, 2020
This tracker provides the number of cases and deaths from the novel coronavirus by country, the trends in case and death counts by country, and a global map showing which countries have cases and deaths. The data are drawn directly from official coronavirus situation reports released regularly by the WHO (3/8).

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